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The Analects of Confucius 論語

11. 《先進》 Xian Jin

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先進》 Xian Jin

The Master said, "The men of former times in the matters of ceremonies and music were rustics, it is said, while the men of these latter times, in ceremonies and music, are accomplished gentlemen. If I have occasion to use those things, I follow the men of former times."

The Master said, "Of those who were with me in Chen and Cai, there are none to be found to enter my door."

Distinguished for their virtuous principles and practice, there were Yan Yuan, Min Zi Qian, Ran Bo Niu, and Zhong Gong; for their ability in speech, Zai Wo and Zi Gong; for their administrative talents, Ran You and Ji Lu; for their literary acquirements, Zi You and Zi Xia.

The Master said, "Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight."
The Master said, "Filial indeed is Min Zi Qian! Other people say nothing of him different from the report of his parents and brothers."

Nan Rong was frequently repeating the lines about a white scepter stone. Confucius gave him the daughter of his elder brother to wife.

Ji Kang asked which of the disciples loved to learn. Confucius replied to him, "There was Yen Hui; he loved to learn. Unfortunately his appointed time was short, and he died. Now there is no one who loves to learn, as he did."

When Yan Yuan died, Yan Lu begged the carriage of the Master to sell and get an outer shell for his son's coffin. The Master said, "Whether he has talents or has not talents, everyone calls his son his son. There was Li; when he died, he had a coffin but no outer shell. I would not walk on foot to get a shell for him, because, having followed in the rear of the great officers, it was not proper that I should walk on foot."

When Yan Yuan died, the Master said, "Alas! Heaven is destroying me! Heaven is destroying me!"
When Yan Yuan died, the Master bewailed him exceedingly, and the disciples who were with him said, "Master, your grief is excessive!" "Is it excessive?" said he. "If I am not to mourn bitterly for this man, for whom should I mourn?"

When Yan Yuan died, the disciples wished to give him a great funeral, and the Master said, "You may not do so." The disciples did bury him in great style. The Master said, "Hui behaved towards me as his father. I have not been able to treat him as my son. The fault is not mine; it belongs to you, O disciples."

Ji Lu asked about serving the spirits of the dead. The Master said, "While you are not able to serve men, how can you serve their spirits?" Ji Lu added, "I venture to ask about death?" He was answered, "While you do not know life, how can you know about death?"

The disciple Min was standing by his side, looking bland and precise; Zi Lu, looking bold and soldierly; Ran You and Zi Gong, with a free and straightforward manner. The Master was pleased. He said, "You there - he will not die a natural death."

Some parties in Lu were going to take down and rebuild the Long Treasury. Min Zi Qian said, "Suppose it were to be repaired after its old style; why must it be altered and made anew?" The Master said, "This man seldom speaks; when he does, he is sure to hit the point."
The Master said, "What has the lute of You to do in my door?" The other disciples began not to respect Zi Lu. The Master said, "You has ascended to the hall, though he has not yet passed into the inner apartments."

Zi Gong asked which of the two, Shi or Shang, was the superior. The Master said, "Shi goes beyond the due mean, and Shang does not come up to it." "Then," said Zi Gong, "the superiority is with Shi, I suppose." The Master said, "To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short."

The head of the Ji family was richer than the duke of Zhou had been, and yet Qiu collected his imposts for him, and increased his wealth. The Master said, "He is no disciple of mine. My little children, beat the drum and assail him."

Chai is simple. Shen is dull. Shi is specious. You is coarse.

The Master said, "There is Hui! He has nearly attained to perfect virtue. He is often in want. Ci does not acquiesce in the appointments of Heaven, and his goods are increased by him. Yet his judgments are often correct."
Zi Zhang asked what were the characteristics of the good man. The Master said, "He does not tread in the footsteps of others, but moreover, he does not enter the chamber of the sage."

The Master said, "If, because a man's discourse appears solid and sincere, we allow him to be a good man, is he really a superior man? or is his gravity only in appearance?"

Zi Lu asked whether he should immediately carry into practice what he heard. The Master said, "There are your father and elder brothers to be consulted - why should you act on that principle of immediately carrying into practice what you hear?" Ran You asked the same, whether he should immediately carry into practice what he heard, and the Master answered, "Immediately carry into practice what you hear." Gong Xi Hua said, "You asked whether he should carry immediately into practice what he heard, and you said, 'There are your father and elder brothers to be consulted.' Qiu asked whether he should immediately carry into practice what he heard, and you said, 'Carry it immediately into practice.' I, Chi, am perplexed, and venture to ask you for an explanation." The Master said, "Qiu is retiring and slow; therefore I urged him forward. You has more than his own share of energy; therefore I kept him back."

The Master was put in fear in Kuang and Yan Yuan fell behind. The Master, on his rejoining him, said, "I thought you had died." Hui replied, "While you were alive, how should I presume to die?"

Ji Zi Ran asked whether Zhong You and Ran Qiu could be called great ministers. The Master said, "I thought you would ask about some extraordinary individuals, and you only ask about You and Qiu! What is called a great minister, is one who serves his prince according to what is right, and when he finds he cannot do so, retires. Now, as to You and Qiu, they may be called ordinary ministers." Zi Ran said, "Then they will always follow their chief - will they?" The Master said, "In an act of parricide or regicide, they would not follow him."
Zi Lu got Zi Gao appointed governor of Fei. The Master said, "You are injuring a man's son." Zi Lu said, "There are (there) common people and officers; there are the altars of the spirits of the land and grain. Why must one read books before he can be considered to have learned?" The Master said, "It is on this account that I hate your glib-tongued people."

Zi Lu, Zeng Xi, Ran You, and Gong Xi Hua were sitting by the Master. He said to them, "Though I am a day or so older than you, do not think of that. From day to day you are saying, 'We are not known.' If some ruler were to know you, what would you like to do?" Zi Lu hastily and lightly replied, "Suppose the case of a state of ten thousand chariots; let it be straitened between other large states; let it be suffering from invading armies; and to this let there be added a famine in corn and in all vegetables - if I were intrusted with the government of it, in three years' time I could make the people to be bold, and to recognize the rules of righteous conduct." The Master smiled at him. Turning to Ran You, he said, "Qiu, what are your wishes?" Qiu replied, "Suppose a state of sixty or seventy li square, or one of fifty or sixty, and let me have the government of it - in three years' time, I could make plenty to abound among the people. As to teaching them the principles of propriety, and music, I must wait for the rise of a superior man to do that." "What are your wishes, Chi," said the Master next to Gong Xi Hua. Chi replied, "I do not say that my ability extends to these things, but I should wish to learn them. At the services of the ancestral temple, and at the audiences of the princes with the sovereign, I should like, dressed in the dark square-made robe and the black linen cap, to act as a small assistant." Last of all, the Master asked Zeng Xi, "Dian, what are your wishes?" Dian, pausing as he was playing on his lute, while it was yet twanging, laid the instrument aside, and said, "My wishes are different from the cherished purposes of these three gentlemen." Said the Master, "What harm is there in that? Do you also, as well as they, speak out your wishes." Dian then said, "In this, the last month of spring, with the dress of the season all complete, along with five or six young men who have assumed the cap, and six or seven boys, I would wash in the Yi, enjoy the breeze among the rain altars, and return home singing." The Master heaved a sigh and said, "I give my approval to Dian." The three others having gone out, Zeng Xi remained behind, and said, "What do you think of the words of these three friends?" The Master replied, "They simply told each one his wishes." Xi pursued, "Master, why did you smile at You?" He was answered, "The management of a state demands the rules of propriety. His words were not humble; therefore I smiled at him." Xi again said, "But was it not a state which Qiu proposed for himself?" The reply was, "Yes; did you ever see a territory of sixty or seventy li or one of fifty or sixty, which was not a state?" Once more, Xi inquired, "And was it not a state which Chi proposed for himself?" The Master again replied, "Yes; who but princes have to do with ancestral temples, and with audiences but the sovereign? If Chi were to be a small assistant in these services, who could be a great one?"

Source: Chinese Text Project, from "The Chinese Classics, volume 1", James Legge, 1861

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